People always ask me why I started working with businesses around their message, and my answer is kind of random – because my clients started asking me for it.
Ask* and they shall receive (*depending on what they are asking for. I’m not fucking Santa Claus).
People were always saying they didn’t know what their message was, and I had done some purpose work (bleh, felt a little too woo woo for me) with clients in the past – what’s your life purpose, what are you here for on earth, etc etc. And I realized “Wait one goshdarn minute – what if purpose = business message? Bam.”
And so my messaging work began.
So then, what the hell does “Messaging” even mean?
At the core it’s WHY you do what you do, and WHAT, exactly, you believe in. These are what your clients are going to latch on to. It’s your business’s backbone, and you need to know it.
Think about it. People love certain brands, and not others, even though they deliver the same content or services. There’s a reason you read The Uncaged Life and not The Status Quo Seeker’s Guide To Running A Business. It’s my point of view, my message, and the vibe of the whole thing that you jive with.
There are a few layers to your messaging that you need to be clear on for everything to make sense in your business. I’ll use Uncaged as an example so you have a clue what I’m talking about, then you get to apply it to your own business (because everyone loves HOMEWORK). Keep in mind that I made all this shit up, so you might have read other blogs about messaging or heard people explain it in a different way. That’s great, the more perspectives on it the better. This is MY way and this is how I work through it with my clients and to this day no one has ever left unclear on their message, so I must be onto something.
And remember, messaging isn’t about the perfect language or a great pitch – that’s a copywriters job. But you can’t work with copywriter til you know what the hell you’re doing and know your message inside out. This is more about YOU feeling grounded in all of it, rather than word-smithing it til your eyeballs bleed.
Here are the core elements of your messaging:
WHY (or PURPOSE, or the IMPACT you want to have) – This is WHY you are doing what you’re doing; why you believe in what you believe in; the bigger reason you’re starting your business in the first place (and not the selfish reason of “I wan to be my own boss”, but the bigger impact that you hope to have on the world with your work. Why does it matter to you, and why should anyone else care?
POV – Point of view. Your approach. Your perspective. It’s what you are taking a STAND for you in your business. This is way more tangible than the bigger picture message. You can think of it as if you’re standing with a megaphone saying to everyone “The best way to achieve _______(whatever your big WHY is) is to _________”. What do YOU stand for? What is your way of helping people achieve your bigger message? What approach are you taking to helping people? Even if other businesses have the same big WHY (which is common), it’s your POV or your APPROACH that will differ and help you find your place in the market.
WHO (or what PROBLEM do you solve) – Who needs what you have. Ideal client stuff fits in here – you can’t help EVERYONE (nor do you want to), so who DO you want to help with your message? What problems do you solve for them. Don’t worry so much about ideal client avatar stuff. Focus more on getting clear on the problems you solve, and out of everyone who has those problems, are there specific groups or types of people that you’d prefer to work with?
HOW – How, exactly, do you help people, and what results can they expect. This is the nuts and bolts of what you DO in your business and how you help people, exactly.
An EXAMPLE: Uncaged’s Layers Of Messaging
WHY: Life is meant to be lived and not controlled by someone else. You should love how you spend your time and you can create the freedom to work and live on your own terms.
POV: I believe that the best way to have freedom and adventure in life is to work for yourself through a small online-based business – you get to control your own time, travel when you want and work from anywhere, be your own boss, and do work that matters. I also believe that in order to do this you need to be super clear on what you want and what you’re doing.
WHO: Lots of people need this, but I choose to work with 20-30somethings who have always had a sense of adventure and have never been able to settle into a ‘real” job. They know they have to start their own business – it’s the only option – and they are willing to do what it takes to make it happen for themselves. They’re high energy, savvy and smart, and risk takers. They also want online businesses that let them travel, so the WHO ends up being a lot of coaches and consultants, as that is where my expertise is.
HOW: I help these people get super clear on what they are doing in their business – everything from their own messaging to their packages to how they want to structure their business to having the confidence to actually DO it all, sooner rather than later. There are lots of HOWS that I could do here, but I have chosen the one that fits best with my expertise and my strengths and what I love to do. This is super important – you need to know what, exactly, you do for people. I didn’t say “I help people start businesses”, or “I help people grow their lists”. I am very clear and specific about what I do and don’t do with my clients.
So if you have a look through all of that, you’ll see that I started with my bigger picture message and what I stand for, drilled it down to what, exactly, my point of view is and what, exactly, I do with people.
And I’ll be honest – that last part is the hardest part and where I see most people waver in their clarity. They know their bigger picture message, but they can’t drill it down and make it tangible (which is often where I come in).
The only way you will get clients is if they can understand what you do and see that it’s something they need. If you can’t describe it or get all wordy and stay with the higher level stuff, no one will get it and their eyes will gloss over and they will head for the drink table before you even finish your 5 min rambling elevator pitch.
Both parts are equally important – your bigger picture message and the vibe of what you’re all about, and then how you actually help people, in concrete terms.
If you don’t know what you’re about and people can’t grasp onto something in your message, they’ll have no idea what you do and they will never hire you.
Now, you guessed it, your turn! In the comments, outline your layers of messaging and see if you can drill it down from vague and kind of hokey, to tangible and fork-over-the-dollah-billz concrete.
Need some Message Therapy? We can work together to get your message, your ideal clients, and your BUSINESS super clear – go from lost to found with Uncage Your Business.